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Academy: War Won't Stop Oscar Ceremony

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It may not be convenient for Hollywood, but war with Iraq won’t stop the 75th annual Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences promised Monday.

President Bush on Monday night issued Saddam Hussein an ultimatum — leave the country in 48 hours, or else — increasing the likelihood that America will be at war when Hollywood rolls out the red carpet Sunday.

Prior to Bush’s speech, a spokesman for the academy said the ceremony will still forge ahead, Reuters reports. “We’re working diligently to get this show on the air Sunday,” spokesman John Pavlik said. “We’re cognizant of the situation and trying to keep our options open.”

Television broadcasts of the Oscars have been delayed twice, once in 1968 and again in 1981. The event was also postponed in 1938.

As certain as the academy seemed to be, the major television networks scrambled to draw up contingent plans in the event of an attack. Given Bush’s timeline, some of the programming that could be interrupted (not to mention inconsequential) includes FOX’s “American Idol,” CBS’s “Survivor,” and that network’s coverage of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament.

How exactly each network will handle coverage is not clear at this point, though a good deal of it depends on when — and if — a war actually begins.

“I’d love to say we have a well-executed plan, but we don’t,” an unnamed TV veteran tells Reuters. “It becomes apparent after a while of trying to figure it out that you just can’t.”